Please consider reblogging this one.
The historically priceless files of the Comics Magazine Association of America—the decades-spanning industry organization that, among other things, instituted the Comics Code, are (still) missing.
Back in early 2011, I wrote a letter to Heidi MacDonald of The Beat, asking for her help in getting the word out.
Unfortunately, as the Comic Magazine Association of America quietly dissolves, it also carries its own history down the drain. Last year, in the course of researching a book, I tried without success to locate the files of the CMAA, which had been maintained since 1948 and were accessible as of the 1990s. Representatives at DC, Archie, and Marvel were unable to answer my questions about where the files might have ended up, although I did receive a response from a former CMAA representative. In regard to my question of who might now be safeguarding the documents, she wrote,
“There really is no one. Legally, none of the old documents of the organization had to be kept. Much of it was kept in Michael Silberkleit’s office up in Archie, but as you now know, sadly, he passed on. Not sure what they would have done with the old files.”
The records of Josette Frank and the Child Study Association of America—which had challenged the comic-book scare of the late 1940—had been donated to the CMAA years ago. Now they have vanished, along with detailed notes on industry-wide meetings throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s among Jack Liebowitz, Stan Lee, Carmine Infantino, John Goldwater, and others.
It seems very possible that these traces of history will soon (if they haven’t already) wind up in the dumpsters of Time Warner or Disney. The industry’s lack of interest in its own heritage is distressing. Do you suppose anything can be done?
Heidi immediately posted to her site about the mystery of the missing files, but no one in the industry ever came forward with any information. As I’ve been sifting through the documents I accumulated during research for the book, I was reminded again of how important the preservation of these kinds of files are. So, if you’re reading this, and you work at Archie, DC, or Marvel, would you mind maybe asking around the office? Hopefully the files haven’t been trashed yet.